DJ Gillz on Mixes, Debut Song ‘Aspire’ & Future Projects

DESIblitz caught up with DJ Gillz to talk about his journey into DJ’ing, his debut song ‘Aspire’ and his dream collaborations in the industry.

DJ Gillz on Mixes, Debut Song 'Aspire' & Future Projects

"I'm trying to create a new sound and stable for people"

Upcoming talent DJ Gillz is one of the hottest properties in the music industry. The Coventry-born musician has slowly been making a name for himself since 2017.

The rising star had his first encounters with DJing equipment aged five but has announced himself on the world stage since then.

Refining his skills at De Montfort University in Leicester gave way for DJ Gillz to explore sounds and develop his own mixing style.

He’s inspired by the likes of Hip Hop mogul Drake, British rap group D Block Europe and Bhangra stars such as AP Dhillon.

With such an influx of different styles, flows and melodies from these artists, Gillz’s mixes are creative and full of energy.

This allowed the artist to attract major attention from other musicians like Steel Banglez, Not3s and Panjabi MC.

Here, his head-thumping mixing, urban Desi fusions and crowd engagement result in thrilling performances.

However, things are just getting started for DJ Gillz. In July 2022, he teamed up with singer and songwriter Robin Bedi for his debut single ‘Aspire’.

The track hints at how promising Gillz is. Blending old-school hip hop sounds with hi-hats and pop hooks are seamless. Bedi’s soulful vocals just top the song off wonderfully.

‘Aspire’ has already surpassed 335,000 YouTube views, with some fans stating it’s a “mindblowing song” and a “certified summer banger”.

So, it’s only right we spoke to DJ Gillz about his debut single, his journey so far and taking an exclusive peek into his future projects.

What early memories do you have of wanting to become a DJ?

DJ Gillz on Mixes, Debut Song 'Aspire' & Future Projects

When my family used to own a shop in Doncaster, we used to go visit our family in Darlington who also had a shop.

My cousin used to own a pair of vinyl decks so I used to play on that at the age of 4/5 years old.

I used to try and play with the sound but it must of being horrible as you can imagine – a 5-year-old trying to DJ!

It really started getting more real as a DJ when I came to university.

I studied media production at DMU, which is where I met Major Singh Takhar (Major Media) and used to love the social side of uni – the clubbing scene.

With me not drinking, I decided to use my student loan to invest in a speaker and some decks.

I would lug them around to different house parties and jam before hitting the club.

Slowly I started to get more recognition in Leicester where a local bar asked me to run a weekly event. This brought interest in other promoters in Leicester to come to their events.

Before you know it I was DJing the biggest club nights in the UK, with the team hosting such events.

Drake, AP Dhillon, D Block Europe, Prophec, Steel Banglez and Manni Sandhu to name a few.

A big shout out to the Leicester gang of Bitz, Turbz, Noori, Bees, Dre, Teo and the Studentgram team which has started this journey.

How would you describe your sound and mixing style?

In terms of DJing I am multigenre; give me any type of genre and time period and I will remix that up, creating a new fusion.

It can be literally mixing some Queen with Giddha!

“For the production side, I like to create a fusion sound, many of which call it urban Desi.”

Incorporating the western beats and influences alongside the traditional Punjabi vocals is something for this new generation of Punjabi’s to listen to.

The Canadian scene for the Punjabi culture is popping right now with so many artists coming out there.

So, I knew I wanted to be a part of this new rebirth of the UK Punjabi scene; making a fresh new sound that entices the people.

What genres do you focus on and how do you experiment?

DJ Gillz on Mixes, Debut Song 'Aspire' & Future Projects

Right now, I have a variety of different sounds I want to work on.

From the latest track ‘Aspire’ which is more of a West Coast vibe to a newer school RnB to even traditional Punjabi Bhangra music.

Branching out to different genres is something that is a must, especially in the Punjabi scene which not a lot of people have done.

I’m trying to create a new sound and stable for people to be hooked onto.

RnB with the likes of the Weeknd, Drake and Tory Lanez have all created such a specific sound, with the production behind them being so completed and detailed.

Then on the flip side, UK House music is another big sound which no other Punjabi artist has done, but who knows, we might have something in the works with that.

What inspired the creation of your debut track ‘Aspire’?

Before ‘Aspire’, I was working on a different project altogether with an artist called Jaswinder Daghamia.

My plan was to release this track prior with some of the visuals already being completed, so keep your eyes peeled for this one.

My close friend who I met at university, Major Singh Takhar who is a part of Major Media, got me in touch with a friend of his in Vancouver, Canada (Robin Bedi).

Major and Robin are passionate about music and have previously worked together, releasing a project a few years back.

Major is also musically gifted in Indian traditional instruments.

That is one thing about having a group of friends in your circle who are on that creative wavelength because it enables you to look at things from a different viewpoint, a more creative one.

We got messaging on Instagram, and I sent him across a few beats and he laid some vocals down on them.

“As soon as I heard Robin’s voice, it shone out to me.”

The tone of his voice, the runs he does and in collaboration with the West Coast beat it just came together perfectly.

Robin has done previous work as well so this track was stepping out of the typical genre he does but his vocals just work wonders on this production.

What was your creative process like when making the song?

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The funny thing about this song is the production side of the beat was made on a hot day a few months back with the sun giving me summer vibes.

There are not a lot of summer Punjabi tracks out there so I thought ‘why isn’t there?’.

I want a track which I can imagine myself driving to on a hot summer’s day, window down, music blasting, getting me in that summer mood.

The West Coast synth in the background which you can hear in the chorus showcases this, making that classic West Coast beat that we all love today.

The project was done in a small amount of time, with the track being produced in a couple of months. The video was shot by Prism Visuals in the same amount of time, about 3-4 months.

With the small production scale, we were able to create a project with an immense amount of support.

If we had a longer time scale for this, who knows how the upcoming project would turn out.

This was the same thing for the visuals. I know the track has the summer feeling so I wanted to capture that, especially in the video where the sun is setting.

It captures that summer vibe, which is the word I keep going back to because they are the best words to describe this.

The visual team planned, organised and shot the content in Canada, where Robin’s scenes were shot in order to get out the “summer video vibe”.

One big area was to make sure that the location, lighting and time of day for both the Canada and UK shoots matched up to have a seamless video.

We didn’t want it to look as though it was shot in two different places halfway across the world.

The final video project was directed, constructed together and colour graded by Major Singh Takhar and the Major Media team.

What did you envision for the track and did it come true?

For me, music is my passion so when releasing it, I wanted to do it for myself.

For my first track, I was happy with 100,000 views on YouTube which was my original aim however it’s gotten over 335,000 at the moment.

“I am humbled and grateful for everyone who has streamed, viewed and listened to the track.”

Especially the track being featured on a number of radio stations and being interviewed by all of them.

People supporting and loving the track just makes me honoured to do this and without that support, the track wouldn’t be where it is right now!

The whole project was targeted at the UK Asian music scene to create a new sound which they haven’t heard before.

From dropping the project, the track has been broadcasted on an international level, hitting places in India, USA and Canada.

Even YouTubers reacted to the video alongside Brit Asia TV contacting the team in order to drop the track on their channel.

What was it like working with the singer Robin Bedi?

DJ Gillz on Mixes, Debut Song 'Aspire' & Future Projects

Robin is amazing to work with.

The moment we started talking and messaging, he understood the project and added his own unique flare to it.

One thing I like is to work with artists who I can gel with and have a similar creative vision so both our efforts aren’t wasted.

Especially when it comes down to his vocals being so niche. His dialect creates that emotion and his voice creates a story.

So, learning more about the way that style of music works opened my eyes further into another side of music.

Even today we still are talking and DM’ing each other. He is such a humble person with a creative mind, and I am very honoured to have worked alongside him.

As a DJ, what types of challenges have you faced or are facing?

One thing in the music scene right now is keeping the content fresh with new ideas on a regular basis.

The way the industry is now is releasing singles every few months to keep that hype of the artist alive, which means music is consistently being pushed out from all angles.

Yes, the content can be washed because of the amount that is coming out however, the biggest thing here is making sure that the content is fresh and something new.

“Inconsistently dropping music means you don’t get recognised today.”

Alongside this, maintaining respect in the community is a big thing with the stereotype being that Punjabi artists have a lot of alcohol, drugs, parties etc.

The main thing is to keep rooted and grounded by having a strong group of individuals that you have relationships with to keep you astray from this.

Keeping all of these things with the correct mannerisms to individuals.

And keep that humbleness because fame can go over your head. Without the fans who listen to our music, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

For DJ Gillz, who would be the dream musicians to work with?

DJ Gillz on Mixes, Debut Song 'Aspire' & Future Projects

This is such a hard question because there are so many artists with their own flair and unique style.

If I would decide right now at this moment I would say the team of AP Dhillon, Gurinder Gill, and Shinda Kahlon as one collective.

Also, Shubh, who is smashing it up in Canada right now and Bhalwaan.

The “Brown Munde” team have it all from the style, vocals, lyrics and production, creating a powerhouse, with AP and Gurinder having heavy knowledge about western music.

It allows them to think on a deeper and more creative level – how music should always be.

Shubh’s memorable lyrics on his records like ‘No Love’ and ‘Elevated’ blend ever so nicely. Having his lyrics on a production I do is something I would be honoured to do.

Bhalwaan is an up-and-coming artist from Canada who is currently smashing it up on the music scene. He caught my attention with his track ‘Sift’.

Are there any Asian DJs you look up to and would collaborate with?

There are a few DJs out there who I look up to such as Jeevan Maan, who is a close friend currently shutting down the clubs around the world and tearing up the wedding scene.

He has taught me a lot in terms of the music side.

He played a big part when I came on the club scene a few years back. So a huge shoutout to him and the Krystal team!

One individual, Chan Singh Dhesi, who is a part of Krystal has motivated and guided me every step of the way, especially overseeing ‘Aspire’ before its release.

“Chan has taught me a lot, especially from a visual side.”

He taught me to listen to my creative side and tap into this with himself having prior experience as a filmmaker.

DJ Harpz is one other artist who has smashed it up, producing for PropheC, Ezu and Amar Sandhu to name a few.

He has also taught me a lot about the producing side, giving me good knowledge about the industry, how it works, and creating new ideas. So a big shout out to him as well.

Manni Sandhu, Intenze, and Proof are three big producers on the scene. They’ve made some of the most amazing beats in the past few years, all from different sides of the world.

The production level, to the creative idea that they have, is on a different level. So being able to work alongside or even have a conversion with them would be something truly amazing.

What future projects can you exclusively tell us about?

DJ Gillz on Mixes, Debut Song 'Aspire' & Future Projects

I am currently off to Canada for a couple of weeks where I will be working on a few projects with some local artists.

Myself and Robin are working on a few songs, with some different sounds being played with so watch this space with us.

But like I said previously, there is that project with Jaswinder Daghmaia which may be dropping sooner than you think.

The collaboration with Major Media once again created the visuals for these upcoming projects.

There’s no doubt that ‘Aspire’ is the first of many career milestones for DJ Gillz.

The track is doing incredibly well given that it is Gillz’s debut record but highlights the fanbase he already has.

But, that won’t deter the musician from the bigger picture which is to work with numerous artists across different genres and countries.

His ambitions are limitless and that is seen in his mesmerising mixes and dedication to his craft.

DJ Gillz is another addition to this new wave of British Asian DJs that are taking over the scene.

DJ Gillz certainly has an inspiring work ethic and a loyal team around him. So, there is much anticipation for how he will excel with future releases and who he may team up with.

Artists and fans alike are excited to see what the young prospect has in store next.

Check out ‘Aspire’ and more of DJ Gillz here.

Balraj is a spirited Creative Writing MA graduate. He loves open discussions and his passions are fitness, music, fashion, and poetry. One of his favourite quotes is “One day or day one. You decide.”

Images courtesy of DJ Gillz & Instagram.